One unreachable castle on one fine day

Kasteel Biljoen

Being a big castle freak, I always plan our usual Sunday stroll to be in some castle grounds. We’re lucky to have several castles and palaces nearby but I also want to discover new ones. Two Sundays ago, the weather was so nice that it was a perfect time to go about castle hunting. I checked on the Dutch castles website and saw one which looked pretty in picture and so off we were to the town of Velp to check on Biljoen Castle (Kasteel Biljoen).

Unfortunately, the castle is off-limits to visitors as its previous owner, a baron who died in 2006 has willed that the castle will not be turned into a museum or open to the public. Instead, it will be kept as a private residence by anyone who acquires the castle. Disappointed at first, we found other ways to enjoy the day by going around the castle grounds and at some point, my husband and daughter devised a game of throwing stones to circular targets that they have drawn on the ground. My little girl just loved being out, being able to play with twigs and pretend fishing. I enjoyed savoring the early signs of spring…from the lone crocus coming out of the ground, to the cheerful pigeon up the tree, to the blue sky that reminded me that there will be more days like this.

Life can be fun even when our best laid plans do not work out as we want them to be. Beyond this castle, we discovered a lovely nature reserve area nearby and another castle… Will tell you more in my next posts.

Ducks swimming in the moat

The mound is the ice cellar which in olden times was used to store the ice blocks gathered in winter to chill food in summer

The moat

About Malou
I'm a mom to a five-year old little girl with interest in cooking, baking, traveling and photography. Castles and palaces are special favorites so when weather permits for a good walk on weekends, me, hubby and little girl are always out for a bit of adventure.

110 Responses to One unreachable castle on one fine day

  1. avian101 says:

    Beautiful display! Nice places and lovely family! !

  2. Your photos are always so beautiful!

  3. Very cool pictures my friend!

  4. Desi Chick says:

    Love the gorgeous photos!

  5. RDoug says:

    Of course, you could have called a realtor for a showing. You are in the market for a slightly used castle, right?

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

  6. I love architecture. Couldn’t imagine if I lived near historic castles! Maybe one day….

    • Malou says:

      Indeed it is interesting to see architecture and its evolution over time. Castles are best representation of that creativity. ;-)

  7. I love these photos! The ones of your little girl are adorable. The others of the grounds capture the essence of Europe gardens. I especially like the photos of the vines/hedges growing against the building, well manicured. Also the one of the bridge and reflection in the river – beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Debbie. Castles and gardens are just my favorite places for a little walk. I feel like being transported back in time. I love that bridge too. It was just so special and I can imagine that in autumn when the leaves are changing colors, it must be a lovely sight too. ;-)

  8. likeitiz says:

    So, is there a buyer for this castle yet? Wow, it looks like a beautiful house from the outside. But if it’s old, can you imagine the repairs and retrofits needed to bring it to modern times if it was not maintained properly? It will take a Warren Buffet-type buyer with a love for old buildings.

    • Malou says:

      The castle has been bought by a foundation for castles in the province and then it is rented out to a tenant.

      Yes, historical buildings and monuments require very thorough maintenance which is very expensive.

  9. FeyGirl says:

    Beautiful, lovely story! :)

  10. Seems the baron’s will did a better job than the moat at making a castle unreachable :) It’s a beautiful structure, I can “see” it in fancy gingerbread at the holidays. The window cut-outs on the bushes is quite interesting. Love the game your little girl played. It’s so nice to see kids playing non-electronic games and just enjoying the outdoors. The kids in our neighborhood have been playing outside all day in the nice warm sunshine.

    • Malou says:

      That’s true. Well, being unreachable preserves the mystery of this castle then.

      My daughter loves self-thought games which is nice because I believe that creativity is still the way to go. The fancy and pricey toys somehow destroy that ability of kids to be creative and resourceful. ;-)

  11. Beautiful photos! What a great way to take advantage of a gorgeous day! Your little girl is so cute :)

  12. cjx07ster says:

    I think that THIS photo expresses the sentiment of the Baron’s will – i.e. the empty seat across the water to the castle with no sign of public activity —

  13. Brigitte says:

    Wow–wonderful picture. How fortunate you are to have such landmarks and beauty nearby. Thanks for sharing!

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Brigitte. Pretty spoiled actually that we have several castles and palaces nearby to choose from for our weekend strolls. ;-)

  14. Java Girl says:

    I love the photo of your daughter and you. The both of you are making wonderful memories with her. Isn’t it great seeing life and nature through your child’s eyes? I see it everyday with my son and he’s only 10. Great photos and wonderful blog!

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot. Indeed it is wonderful to see the world through her eyes. We try to expose her to nature as best as we can so that she will have appreciation for it. Same way with what you are doing with your son. ;-)

  15. Your nature photos are some of the best on the Internet.

  16. Deb Platt says:

    Lovely series of photos. I agree with Java Girl; the photo of you and your daughter together is adorable.

  17. amyturnertaylor says:


  18. janinevasta says:

    What an enchanting place Malou. Your little girl is just a sweetheart!

  19. sillyliss says:

    I have never seen such a place in real life. It looks like something out of a dream.

  20. Mike Sinnott says:

    Always loved visiting your country. There are many lovely nature places and Dutch people have respect for their environment.

  21. John says:

    Wonderful photos! Unfortunate that the current owner is deed-restricted yet the laws must be followed in respect of those who are departed. Beautiful family!

  22. Malou…thank you for bringing spring to me!!!!
    Your photography is amazing…and it was lovely to see you and your family. :)
    I love that you faced the day with positivity…and found beauty and joy even though it didn’t work out the way you had originally planned.
    I hope you will get over to my blog…I have a guest poster…Daria, a talented musician, who spreads the joy of music with children all around the globe.:)

    • Malou says:

      Glad to know you like these pictures, Vivian. I always believe in the bright side of things so I can easily shift to plan B when A does not work. Being flexible makes life easier. I checked your blog about Daria so I am now thinking of an activity to plan for my daughter and her friends. Thanks for sharing that idea. ;-)

  23. Oh, by the way, Malou…if I ever need a photo of a castle, may I use one of the ones you took here? I would give you credit for it. :)

  24. MICHAEL says:

    A very good report with very nice pictures! Thank you :-)

    Greetings from Berlin, Michael

  25. viveka says:

    Beautiful photo’s as always … nice little castle – just right size for me .. in fantastic surroundings.Can see that this is resent photo’s because your daughter has grown quite a bit.

  26. Wonderful photos as always. I particularly like the ones with water and reflections and the Autumn leaf all alone one. Thank you!

  27. cidnlars says:

    Looks like a lovely day. Great photos!

  28. Hi! This is so beautiful! I want a castle in my backyard…..hmmm. I have dreams of living in a chateau/caslte, where all I do is prance around in pretty dresses to match the scenery, lol! I’ll just have to live my dreams through your photos. I visited Amsterdam last year and wish I could have seen more of the surrounding areas. I even ate the chocolate sprinkled covered bread. Not bad! Your pictures and writing are lovely. Thanks for sharing. I’ll be back for more. :-)

    • Malou says:

      Oh, we share the same dreams then. We must have been royals in past lives.
      Good to know that you’ve been to Amsterdam but your visit must have been limited to the big city and not the real Dutchlandia as my friends would say. ;-)

  29. kyurarei says:

    I love castles, too! :)
    Your photos are really nice and isn’t it a wonderful thing to spend Sundays with your family?
    And your daughter is so pretty ♥

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot. Castles are always nice destinations for a Sunday walk. Oftentimes, they have nice parks with huge trees which the kids find ideal for all kinds of fun activities. ;-)

  30. Lovely post and pictures that just shine with joy: Thank you!

  31. saymber says:

    Loved the pictures and I see your daughter found the hottest toy on the list of toys ever — the stick! I can just imagine how it feels when you are near these castles and walking the grounds. My mind would be conjuring all kinds of stories about the past residents and the lives they lead. Fascinating – looking forward to seeing more of your adventures!

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot. For toys, my daughter loves sticks, sand, etc. and nothing very fancy. You can just imagine that at times, she wants to bring all these sticks back home, plus the stones and pebbles that she find along the way. She’s oblivious to the castle, all she can think about is playing with anything that she can get her hands on. ;-)

  32. kentiki says:

    Lovely photos! It’s so nice to see a part of the world so different than mine.

  33. As always, your pictures are beautiful. You little girl is adorable!

  34. What a beautiful castle and grounds. I enjoy reading your posts and seeing your pictures–traveling through your eyes. My bucket list contains many places I’d love to travel….not sure if it’ll happen so, for now–really enjoy following everyone’s blogs and seeing places through their eyes.

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Veronica. I hope someday that you get to see this part of the world as well. I love your world too. Been to Colorado once and really had a great time. I hope to return someday. ;-)

  35. What a beautiful outing. Your daughter is darling and the pictures, as always, awesome.

  36. jelillie says:

    What beautiful pictures. I cannot wait to visit the Netherlands this summer!

  37. mountainmae says:

    I feel like I get to take a mini-vacation through your pictures. I smiled to remember when I could carry my daughter on my shoulders. Thanks for sharing your joy.

  38. Alli says:

    What a beautiful castle. It reminds me a little of my apartment (ha ha, I wish!). Your pictures are amazing!

  39. Even though you didn’t get to see the inside, you still managed to get some great shots of it from the outside. Looks like such a beautiful castle.

    • Malou says:

      Oftentimes, taking pictures inside castles and palaces are not allowed and in those instances, I somehow felt cheated (especially if the entrance fee is quite pricey). It was such a lovely sunny day so we had fun just being outside. ;-)

  40. Beautiful pics…love the ducks too.

  41. Sara says:

    Too bad about the castle but it is beautiful to look at from afar. it seems to have a better chance of being maintained perhaps if it is opened to the public–I understand these buildings while beautiful are expensive to maintain. Thanks for all the pictures of flowers–any Dutch blog worth its salt would need to to devote some space to them right?

    • Malou says:

      I guess this castle will always remain a mystery to me. Castles and palaces are indeed very expensive to maintain so opening them to the public is the best way to earn revenue for their upkeep.

      Regarding the flower pictures, I guess posting a lot of them is inevitable given Holland’s reputation for flowers. ;-)

  42. zelmare says:

    As always, your pictures are beautiful! And the place is delightful, pity you couldn’t see inside. You have a very gorgeous little girl! :)

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot. Not seeing the inside of the castle is not much of a loss especially on a lovely day. More fun for the little girl outside. ;-)

  43. meenas17 says:

    Beautiful writing.
    Amazing photography.
    Thanks for following my blog.

  44. How lovely to have so many castles near you! I love that photo of your daughter next to the enormous, sap-green tree trunk.. the color contrast is so vivid! And, of course, I love your crocus.. I’m a fan of those! We have snow today:( so my exploring days are over for a, hopefully short, while. xo

    • Malou says:

      Pretty spoiled, aren’t we? When the weather warms up, I guess my daughter will love going to these castles dressed as a princess. ;-)

      Too bad that now that it is officially spring, snow still fell. Well, the weather can dramatically change too so I hope you get your warm spring very soon. ;-)

  45. sagekateri says:

    Beautiful pictures of a place right out of a fairy tale! All I can say is wow!

  46. Pingback: The Versatile Blogger Award! « Cross(stitch) Your Heart

  47. I’m totally fan of castles too and such mossy nature… the green moss just adds some mystery to the trees and thus to the place overall! Beautiful photos!

  48. It looks like you had a beautiful day. What a wonderful looking castle. I wonder how much a castle goes for these days . . .

    • Malou says:

      Yes, we had a great day and it was more fun being outside on such a sunny day that being inside a stuffy castle (as the Mr. would say.). ;-)

  49. lily2u1 says:

    You’ve documented your excursion so splendidly that I feel as if I go on a little vacation when I scroll (or stroll?) through your photos.

    There is something about the hot pink of your daughter’s coat against that green mossy tree that is very captivating and cool — aside from all all of the beauty herein. Looks like your family had a relaxing and refreshing day!

    Thank you, Malou.

    ~ Lily

  50. EllaDee says:

    My 6 year old self who pretends the castle styled Conservatorium of Music across the road from my work place is a real castle when “we” take a lunch time stroll in the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens thinks it’s amazing to be able to visit real castles. I love your capture of the purple & white stripe bud pushing up from the ground.

    • Malou says:

      You never know where those dreams will lead your little girl one day. I grew up imagining myself as a princess in many of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. I never thought that I would one day see not just one but countless castles in my life. Nothing is impossible. ;-)

  51. Very nice captures.. the still reflections, macros are really amazing.. and yes the cute little is too good.. :-)

  52. Europe has the most wonderful castles! I love to visit them and if I had a bucket list it would probably have on it to be able to visit all the wonderful castles there are here!

    • Malou says:

      So true, Ashley. I love those grand chateaus out there in France. When we went camping on the Loire Valley, I had an overdose of castles (for a while only). ;-)

  53. Arohika says:

    Gorgeous pictures :-)

  54. Sue says:

    It’s lovely to see photographs of spring in other countries and you have the most beautiful child I think I’ve ever seen. I bet Audrey Hepburn looked like her when she was little!

  55. Amy says:

    What a elegant castle! Lovely, beautiful, and happy girl!

  56. kzackuslheureux says:

    what a gorgeous family, and environment! Thanks for sharing.

  57. Beautiful gardens and great photos. I wonder what’s the difference between a castle and a stately home. This appears to be more the latter than the former.

  58. Malou says:

    Thanks a lot. This is a castle because of its fortification. The moat also distinguishes a castle from a stately home or manor. ;-)

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